Journal of the Federation of American Scientists
Volume 48, No. 2, March/April 1995
Working in the White House On Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control: A
Frank von Hippel
Prior to 1993, I had spent 20 years as an activist policy-physicist - mostly on
nuclear nonproliferation and arms control issues. All my work was done as an
"outsider." I never had a clearance and, with the exception of providing
analytical ammunition to the Carter White House after it decided to cancel the
Clinch River demonstration plutonium-breeder reactor, I had never worked with
the Executive Branch. During the Reagan and Bush Administrations, I wrote
articles, testified to Congressional committees about disarmament proposals,
and made about thirty trips to Moscow to discuss these same proposals with
independent Russian arms control activists and those interested in arms control
in the Foreign Ministry.
Then, in August 1993, I was invited to try to affect policy as one of the
1700-odd people in the "White House," the complex that includes, in addition to
the White House itself, the Old and New Executive Office Buildings. I was
offered the position of Assistant Director of National Security in the White
House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP).
I have great respect for Jack Gibbons, the President's Science Advisor and the
Director of OSTP, and for Henry Kelly, who had taken the position of OSTP
Assistant Director for Technology - and who was trying to do the national
security job as well until the position could be filled. I told myself that,
if I were ever going to work on the "inside," OSTP would be as compatible a
base as I would ever find.
I therefore took a two-year leave from Princeton and, in September 1993, joined
the administration and started to fill out what Henry called "the form from
Hell," in which I had to provide the information about my relatives, past jobs,
addresses, etc. that the FBI required for its background investigation.
Sixteen months later, in December 1994, I decided that I had done most of what
I could on the inside. In any case, I was losing my bearings as a result of
"thought deprivation" due to a continual barrage of urgent phone calls, FAXs
and interagency meetings. I therefore decided to spend the remaining seven
months of my two-year stint in Washington with the F.A.S., working again as an
outsider trying to advance the Comprehensive Test Ban, a ban on the production
of fissile material for weapons, and other initiatives that I don't think the
government will be able to carry through successfully without some more help
from the outside.
Many of my friends have been curious about what I learned as a result of my
service on the inside. Immediately after leaving, my brain still felt too
fragmented by the experience for me to say anything useful. Now, however, the
pieces are beginning to fit back into place. And I hope what I have to say at
this point will be of interest to my fellow activist analysts who have, like I
did in the past, observed the Executive Branch as a black box whose inputs are
mysterious and whose outputs are perplexing.
In my 500 days in the Administration I learned a great deal about the
difficulties and opportunities presented by the interagency process of nuclear
policy making. What follows are observations, illustrated by some examples.
The Administration's Decision Not to Test
I had my first experience as an insider four months before I actually joined
the Clinton Administration. This occurred in May 1993, and it was positive.
The issue was whether or not the U.S. should resume nuclear testing.
The previous autumn, after a heated debate, the Democrat-led Congress had
passed an amendment that declared it to be the policy of the U.S. government to
achieve a Comprehensive Test Ban (CTB) by September 30, 1996. By attaching the
amendment to a bill containing funding for the Superconducting Super-collider
in Texas, a state critical to Bush's reelection hopes, Congress boxed the
president into signing the legislation. Reflecting concerns raised during the
debate, the amendment provided that the U.S. could conduct as many as five
safety and reliability tests in each of the fiscal years 1994, 1995 and 1996.
The new administration had to decide whether or not it wanted to actually carry
out these tests.
The decision that had been prepared for President Clinton by the National
Security Council staff, working mostly with the weapons labs and the Department
of Defense (DoD), was the maximum-permitted 15-test plan. But then, the new
Secretary of Energy, Hazel O'Leary, in a surprising display of independence,
put the decision on hold until she could better understand the issues
Ellsberg Circulates Paper
I had just written a paper arguing that no more tests were necessary. The
indefatigable Dan Ellsberg, now a Washington, D.C. based nuclear-disarmament
activist, was aware of the internal Administration debate and distributed my
paper to a number of high-level officials. As a result, my paper was the first
argument against the tests that reached these levels in the Administration, and
Secretary O'Leary's staff decided to invite me in for two sessions during which
the Secretary would be presented the arguments for and against the 15 tests. I
was issued an interim "Q" clearance so that I could participate in these
The arguments made for the tests turned out to be extremely weak. There were
simply no "problems to be fixed." But the arguments were political as well as
technical. Most ironic, perhaps, was the observation that, after all the
claims that had been made by the weapons labs about the need for safety and
reliability tests, the Senate might not ratify a CTB if no tests of this type
were carried out.
Ultimately, Secretary O'Leary made a decision none of her predecessors had been
willing to make: stop the testing despite the opposition of the weapons labs
and their politically powerful supporters in Congress and the Pentagon. No
decision comes without its price, however, and this same meeting produced the
seeds of the very costly "Science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program" intended
to maintain the competence - and the funding levels of the labs - without
One argument that I made in the O'Leary meetings has come back to haunt me.
For some of the tests that appeared to have at least some marginal
justification, I argued that the essential information could be obtained with
"hydronuclear tests" - nuclear tests with yields of less than four
pounds TNT equivalent. I therefore share the blame for the U.S.
negotiating position in Geneva that hydronuclear experiments must be permitted
under a CTB. This "little bit pregnant" position has made it easy for other
nations to come in with proposals for "permitted experiments" with much larger
yields - up to a few hundred tons.
If tests were continued in this yield range, non-nuclear weapon states could
conclude that the quest for more useful and "useable" nuclear weapons had not
ended. This would greatly undermine the nonproliferation value of a CTB, which
is supposed to symbolize an understanding that nuclear weapons are not
useable. The "threshold states" (Israel, India and Pakistan), which have not
signed the Nonproliferation Treaty, could also obtain valuable information from
low-yield tests that they could use to design more compact fission warheads for
use on ballistic missiles.
In retrospect, it was a mistake in the first place to include small fission
explosions in the category of permitted experiments. All such explosions
should be banned. This may appear implausible as a basis for an agreement with
the other nuclear-weapon states, but officials in both the Chinese and Russian
Foreign Ministries have suggested informally that their nuclear-weapons
designers would find it easier to accept a zero-pound than a four-pound limit -
perhaps because they believe (incorrectly) that the U.S. could achieve much
more at four pounds than they could.
Turf and Arms-control Policy
Once I was inside the White House, I learned about "turf" - and also that I had
very little. Arms control and nonproliferation policy-making is coordinated in
the White House by the National Security Council. And the "Senior Directors"
who control these areas were not about to turn over even the smallest portion
of their authority to me. It also turned out the at the NSC Defense Policy and
Arms Control Directorate, headed by a former defense aide of Senator Nunn,
until the last election Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, tends
to side with the Pentagon on arms control issues.
Room for debate within the Administration is limited still further by the fact
that the State Department also tends to follow the Pentagon's lead. Indeed,
the Undersecretary of State for International Security Affairs, a former Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense, has twice persuaded the Secretary of State to
recommend to the President that the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency be
With this lineup, there has been very little effective resistance within the
Administration to ideas that undercut arms control. One idea was to add an
"easy-out" provision to the U.S. CTB negotiating position. Such a provision
would allow any country to drop out of the CTB after 10 years without
explanation. This proposal undercut the U.S. effort to persuade the
non-nuclear states to sign up for an indefinite extension of the
Non-proliferation Treaty. After much outside criticism the idea was abandoned,
but only on the eve of the NPT Extension Conference.
Reinterpreting the ABM Treaty
Another Administration proposal - to reinterpret the 1972 U.S.-Soviet ABM
Treaty, which limits Anti-Ballistic Missile systems - may well undermine the
potential for further strategic arms cuts. The purpose of this proposal is to
allow the testing and deployment of the Army's new Theater High-Altitude Area
Defense (THAAD) system, as well as proposed future Navy and Air Force
In addition to proposing a reinterpretation that would largely remove the
Treaty's restraints on technologies that can be used for theater
defense, the Administration has shown astonishingly little interest in
preserving the Treaty's constraints on strategic defenses. Making the
world safe for THAAD is seen as an imperative; warnings that lowing the
barriers to future strategic-missile defenses may make it more difficult to
achieve further strategic arms reductions--indeed, may even result in the
Russian Duma's failure to ratify the START II agreement--are given the short
shrift. (Since the November election, of course, the Administration has been
under attack from the Republican Congress for wanting to preserve the ABM
Treaty at all.)
The Power of the "Leak"
Given the dominant arms-control-indifferent configuration in the Executive
Branch national security bureaucracy, any avenue of appeal is critical.
Unfortunately, in the area of arms control, there has been little recourse
inside the Administration. The President, the National Advisor, and the
Secretary of State all have had other pressing concerns.
Prior to November 1994, arms control advocates within the Administration had
one recourse--appealing to the Democratic Congress. This was most easily done
via a leak to a sympathetic journalist.
An example from the spring of 1993, before I joined the Administration,
illustrates the importance of leaks. There was a proposal, agreed to by most
of the national-security bureaucracy, that a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
should allow nuclear explosions with yields up to one kiloton. A leak to
The Washington Post triggered a very stiff letter to the president from
senators who had pushed the new pro-CTB policy through the Congress. And the
one-kiloton CTB proposal that had been impossible to stop inside the
Administration was dead--stopped by a single leak.
During my time at the White House, I often thought about the power of the leak
but never employed it. The National Security Council (NSC) leaked to the press
all the time. But it controlled the turf and I didn't. If my adversaries
within the NSC could plausibly accuse me of leaking, they would have a reason
for excluding OSTP from the national-security policy-making process altogether.
After a series of embarrassing leaks, a high-level NSC official reportedly
warned of potential further restrictions on those who would be allowed to
participate in the Administration's policy debate on arms control. And then,
he reportedly added "I would rather have the policy be wrong than to have a
leak before the President makes his decision."
The interagency process spends most of its time reducing good ideas to mush.
But periodically a summit meeting comes into sight and suddenly the President's
or Vice President's staff--concerned about a "ho-hum" verdict on the summit--is
out searching for "bold new proposals."
My first experience with this phenomenon occurred early in December 1993,
during the run-up to the second meeting of Vice President Gore with Russian
Prime Minister Chernomyrdin.
Three of Russia's military plutonium-production reactors--two near Tomsk and
one near Krasnoyarsk--are being kept in operation because they produce
essential heat and electricity for the associated closed cities of Tomsk-7 and
Krasnoyarsk-26 and for the city of Tomsk. Continued operation has resulted in
continued separation of one to two tons of weapons-grade plutonium a year
because their aluminum-clad uranium-metal fuel is not designed for prolonged
storage. If these reactors are to be shut down, an alternative source of
energy will have to be found.
During the early fall of 1993, Evgeny Velikhov, a collaborator of the F.A.S. in
arms-control initiatives during the Gorbachev era, visited Washington and told
me of a possible way of providing the alternative energy that he believed would
cost only about $25 million. He suggested that, for this amount, a Russian
military jet-engine factory could be converted to the production of stationary
gas turbines for generating electricity. GasProm, Russia's natural gas
utility, would then be willing to buy these turbines and install them at
strategic points around Tomsk where their exhausts would heat water for its
This was an irresistible proposal, combining in one package the conversion of
part of the Russian military-industrial complex with the replacement of unsafe
plutonium-production reactors by a clean source of energy. Accordingly, in
mid-December, in Moscow, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister agreed that:
(i) the plutonium-production reactors would be shut down by the year 2000, (ii)
the U.S. would provide assistance to bring alternative energy sources on line
by that date, and (iii) the storage and disposition of the plutonium separated
from the reactors' fuel in the interim would be subject to joint monitoring.
Unfortunately, Velikhov's idea did not work out. GasProm was not after all
interested in financing the gas-turbine co-generation plants and their
associated gas supply. And the city governments of both Tomsk and
Krasnoyarsk-26 indicated that they would prefer to have Western funding for the
completion of coal-fired co-generation plants that had been partially built
outside each city.
The U.S. is financing feasibility studies to explore the possibility of
international loans to finance these or other sources of alternative energy,
but it is not clear at this time how such loans could be paid back. A
compromise solution that is being considered would be to assist the Ministry of
Atomic Energy in converting the production reactors to a fuel cycle with
storable fuel so that the plutonium would not be separated from the highly
radioactive fission products that protect it from theft. The main hesitation
about this proposal has been that it could result in extending the operation of
what may be the most unsafe reactors in Russia.
Warhead Arms Control
From 1987 to 1993, an F.A.S. working group examined the technical basis for an
extension of nuclear arms control to cover nuclear warheads. The INF and START
treaties deal with the elimination of ballistic missiles, their launchers and
long-range bombers--but not with what happens to the tens of thousands of
warheads that have been made excess by the dramatic post-Cold War cuts in both
strategic and tactical nuclear-weapons systems.
Here, the January 1994 Clinton-Yeltsin summit provided an opportunity to insert
in the summit statement a mandate to establish a Russian-U.S. joint working
group to "consider... steps to ensure the transparency and irreversibility of
the process of reduction of nuclear weapons, including the possibility of
putting a portion of fissionable material under IAEA safeguards."
This presidential commitment launched an interagency process to produce a
negotiating position, and a quite good U.S. proposal for first steps in these
negotiations were submitted to the Russian government in December. The U.S.
proposal envisions exchanges of declarations of total warhead and
fissile-material inventories and verification of fissile-material inventories
not in warheads or naval reactor fuel.
Although the transparency and irreversibility negotiations have not yet begun,
negotiations on one piece of the agenda were launched in March 1994. At that
time, Secretary O'Leary and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy, Victor
Mikhailov, signed an agreement to establish a joint group to work out
procedures for reciprocal monitoring of the accumulation of plutonium "pits"
from warhead dismantlement. A technical approach based on measurements of the
radiation emitted by the plutonium through the walls of the sealed canisters
holding the pits has been worked out, but measurements on actual pits await
completion of a formal Agreement on Cooperation to protect the
not-very-sensitive classified information that will be revealed.
Russian Fissile-Material Security
Probably the greatest threat of nuclear proliferation today stems from the
inadequate arrangements for protecting Russian fissile materials from theft in
the new post-Soviet social and economic environment. There have been many
alarms sounded about this problem since the Soviet Union began to disintegrate
in the fall of 1991.
Congress thought, when it voted for the Nunn-Lugar program in 1991, that it had
launched a major effort to help deal with what was then called the "loose
nukes" problem. Starting in 1992, the program authorized $400 million a year
of DoD funds to be spent to assist Russia in "the transportation, storage,
safeguarding, and destruction of nuclear and other weapons" of the former
Soviet Union and "to assist in the prevention of weapons proliferation."
However, I found, when I arrived in the White House in the fall of 1993, that
very little had been accomplished with regard to strengthening nuclear
materials security in Russia.
U.S. negotiators for the Nunn-Lugar assistance effort had been fended off from
the installations that were of most concern: facilities where Russian warheads
were being dismantled and weapons -useable fissile materials were being
processed. Hard-liners in the Parliament were convinced that the U.S.'s real
interest was in obtaining access to Russia's secret facilities, and they
denounced the leadership of the Ministry of Atomic Energy (MinAtom) for any
move to accept U.S. assistance at such "sensitive" facilities.
Some of us on the outside had anticipated this paranoia and had proposed that
the U.S. offer the Russians reciprocal access to the counterpart U.S.
facilities in exchange for any access that we required to verify that our
assistance was being used in the manner intended. But both the Bush
Administration and Senator Nunn's staff were hostile to the concept of
In the spring of 1994, when I raised the idea again, there was little
opposition within the Clinton Administration to trying it. We quickly found
that it worked. In July the Administration hosted a Russian delegation to
examine the physical security arrangements at a U.S. facility at the DoE's
Hanford, Washington site, where the U.S. had begun plutonium production during
World War II. In return, we were invited in October to visit the plutonium
storage facility at Russia's first plutonium-production site in the closed
Urals city of Chelyabinsk-65.
With the establishment of the principle of reciprocity, MinAtom has agreed to
open the door to cooperation on fissile-material security to include other
facilities containing weapons-useable fissile material. The Administration has
responded by budgeting $30 million per year for 1995 and 1996 for this program
focused initially on Chelyabinsk-65, two major reactor and fuel-development
institutes that have ton quantities of unirradiated plutonium and highly
enriched uranium, and two fuel fabrication facilities that also handle large
quantities of weapons-useable materials.
Bypassing the Bureaucracies: Lab-to-Lab
Another problem with the Nunn-Lugar effort regarding fissile materials security
is that it was very cumbersome. It required the cooperation of three
bureaucracies: the DoD, whose accountants set almost impossible requirements
for a release of funds; the DoE, whose bureaucracy had the responsibility for
carrying out the program; and MinAtom, a Soviet-era ministry trying to survive
in the post-Soviet market-driven world. The combination of the three
bureaucracies made it demoralizingly difficult to get anything done.
To get around the roadblock, a proposal was made by a number of individuals:
Tom Cochran, a nuclear physicist at the Natural Resources Defense Council; a
group of materials-security experts at Los Alamos; and by me in the White
House. We proposed a new program in which the U.S. and Russian
materials-security experts would be able to deal with each other directly.
Undersecretary of Energy Charles Curtis picked up the idea and decided to
launch what is now known as the "lab-to-lab" program. Not only is this program
free of most of Nunn-Lugar bureaucratic overhead; it also can use its funds to
put Russians as well as Americans to work. The rule of thumb is that one third
of the funds goes to U.S. lab personnel, one third to Russian personnel and the
final third to the purchase of equipment.
The lab-to-lab program was greeted with enthusiasm by the Russian labs and is
already well ahead of the government-to-government program in terms of
accomplishments. So far, Velikhov's Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in
Moscow is in the lead with a state-of-the-art security system installed in a
building that contains 70 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium. During the next
year, the program is expected to begin upgrading materials security in Russia's
two weapons labs, Arzamas-16 and Chelyabinsk-70, and the major plutonium and
highly-enriched handling complex of Tomsk-7. Fifteen million dollars are
budgeted for 1995 and forty million for 1996.
As an outside activist, I had been able to present ideas for new arms-control
initiatives personally to high-level Russian government officials. Now, as a
working-level government official, I found that no longer possible. Any new
idea must first be vetted by an interagency group. Then it is presented to the
targeted government via agreed "talking points" by an authorized official,
usually from the State Department. Sometimes the State Department was busy and
delivered the message so cursorily, or at such a low level, that there was no
response. Sometimes the response was "no", but we didn't understand why so we
would reiterate the proposal, hoping for a different response, just to be
We went through such an exercise in frustration in connection with the
Nunn-Lugar Agreement for Cooperation on fissile material security. At one
point we became convinced that Russia considered virtually all facilities
containing weapons-useable fissile materials "military" facilities. Vice
President Gore therefore proposed and Prime Minister Chernomyrdin agreed, in
their September 1993 meeting, that U.S.-Russian cooperation on fissile-material
security would extend to "military" as well as civilian fissile material. This
agreement was reiterated--in somewhat watered down form--in the January 1994
Clinton-Yeltsin summit statement.
Yeltsin's and Chenomyrdin's agreement, however, had no effect on MinAtom, which
absolutely refused , in meeting after meeting, to expand the Nunn-Lugar
agreement of cooperation on fissile-material security to cover military
After a year of fruitless dialogue, we learned by accident that we had been
talking past each other. A negotiator from MinAtom came to Washington to
discuss this issue among others. Since the State Department's negotiator was
out of town, I volunteered to fill the gap. We exchanged the Russian and U.S.
proposed language for the amendment and found that we were as far apart as
ever. I then invited the Russian official to lunch and tried to explore what
was behind the Russian version.
Much to my surprise, I learned that MinAtom was willing to expand the
cooperative effort to cover a broad range of weapons-useable fissile materials.
Its objection was to extending this cooperation to materials in classified
forms such as weapons components and naval-reactor fuel. I reported this back
to the interagency group and it was decided that MinAtom's offer, while not
everything that we had wanted, provided us plenty of important opportunities to
use the resources that we had available for the cooperative program. We
therefore signed an agreement that spelled out our new understanding of the
Russian position, and the program went forward.
For the most part, however, I did not enjoy my time inside the Government and,
at least weekly, I would ask myself whether I was really more useful on the
inside than on the outside. One day, I mentioned this to a colleague in the
State Department, who had worked on the inside for 25 years. His response was
incredulous: "Oh you are having much more impact inside! Those people on the
outside are gnats!"
What he said was true in a sense. Outside public-interest and academic experts
have little impact on day-to-day arms control and nonproliferation
policy-making in the government. However, they largely set the long-term
There is little opportunity inside the government to achieve fundamental
changes in policy. This is especially true in the areas of arms controls and
nonproliferation policy, where many agencies have to sign off and officials
therefore only have the freedom to innovate at the margins of the current
policy consensus. Any new ideas face a brutal obstacle course.
Testimony and speeches have to be "cleared" with other agencies; proposed new
initiatives must be agreed to at interagency meetings; cables communicating
proposals to foreign governments must be circulated for interagency clearance;
and frequent turf battles, reorganizations, and transfers of personnel militate
against the development of effective interagency collaborations on policy
The President can in theory redirect policy. But his time is a precious
commodity and, unless he comes into office with a clear idea of changes that he
wants to make and the determination to overcome the resistance of the agencies,
he will very soon be forced to accept--and becomes the spokesperson for--the
lowest-common-denominator consensus that the interagency process produces.
This consensus, however, is influenced by effective public criticism and by
outside proposals for new policy initiatives that gain significant political
support in Congress. Many of the new initiatives that my friends in the State
Department were negotiating had first been proposed and popularized by analysts
in public interest groups. For example, it was a very small group of
public-interest-analyst-activists, under the intellectual leadership of
Christopher Paine of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), that worked
over the years to convince Congress that the weapons-labs' arguments against a
Comprehensive Test Ban could be rebutted.
Another small and overlapping group of public-interest activists and academics
worked in both Washington and Moscow to give credibility to the idea of a
world-wide ban on the production of fissile materials for weapons which was
adopted by the Clinton Administration in September 1993. And the F.A.S.
nuclear disarmament project developed many of the ideas that are to be explored
in the proposed U.S.-Russian "transparency and irreversibility" talks on
nuclear warhead elimination.
The public interest sector is characterized by a higher ratio of commitment to
policy objectives than to loyalty to the President. This may account for why
so few public interest types receive appointments in the Executive Branch. In
my own case, a high-level White House official reacted to my proposed
appointment by objecting "But he has an agenda!"
Intelligence in the Post Cold War World
The contribution of the public interest community also extends increasingly
into the area of information that used to be available to policy makers only
from the intelligence agencies.
The U.S. spends tens of billions each year to collect and analyze information
about potential threats to out national security. During the Cold War, the
results were often stunning--as displayed, for example, in the glossy Soviet
Military Power, which was put out annually by the Defense Intelligence
Agency during the Reagan and Bush Administrations.
Some of my friends therefore expected that, when I went into the government, I
would find that this public manifestation of what the U.S. knows but the tip of
a vast iceberg of intelligence. I found, however that, in terms of what is
important for policy makers to know, pretty much everything leaked out. I also
found that, in the new, post-Cold War era, the intelligence community often has
more to learn from the public interest community and journalists than vice
Photographs from space may have been helpful in answering key questions of the
Cold War--"Where are their missiles? Is their Army massing?"--they are not so
useful in answering the questions that concern us now--"Is their
nuclear-weapons material secure? Are their nuclear -weapons designers being
To answer these questions, it is necessary to visit the places that are of
concern and talk to the people there. And the intelligence community is
typically the last to be able to visit such places and to have open discussions
with the people who live and work there. Some of the best information today
therefore tends to come from the open reports of public interest groups and
Indeed, even when I was inside the White House with the full resources of the
intelligence agencies at my disposal, I usually found it far more efficient to
turn to my public interest and journalist friends for information. The
information was also valuable for another reason: I could reference it in
The Outlook after the Congressional Elections
With the election of a Republican Congress, arms control has entered a new era.
In the past, a moderately liberal Congressional leadership tried to cajole a
conservative national security establishment (including the armed services
committees of Congress) into trying to deal with the East-West nuclear
confrontation and the North-South proliferation problem in part by mutual
restraint rather than relying exclusively on U.S. technological superiority.
Now we have a Congressional leadership that has already shown itself to be
impatient with restraints on ballistic-missile defenses and considers the Arms
Control and Disarmament Agency a "relic of the Cold War." And the Secretary of
Defense is on the defensive about Nunn-Lugar's very modest program to help
Russia convert its excess military production capacity.
At the same time, the challenges of the new era are different and need not be
as polarized ideologically between the advocates of "peace through strength"
and the arms controllers as they were during the Cold War. In particular, it
should be possible to obtain bipartisan support for effective programs to deal
with the central nonproliferation challenges of the next few years,
The instinct of conservatives is both to assume that these efforts will fail
and to support investments in efforts to develop capabilities for detecting
activities associated with the production of weapons of mass destruction, new
anti-missile systems, weapons to destroy underground bunkers, etc. such as
those being pursued by the DoD's "Counter-proliferation Program." However, the
same variety of possibilities exists for delivering a nuclear weapon as bulk
drugs--and one can expect the same limited effectiveness for preemption and
interception efforts. There should still be enough people in Congress who will
recognize this reality to secure the support needed for pursuing relatively
low-cost preventive programs such as those "bulleted" above.
- Help the former Soviet republics secure their nuclear weapons materials in
the new circumstances of freedom of movement and economic distress that have
made it so easy for black marketeers to flourish;
- Eliminate the surplus nuclear weapons materials freed by the downsizing of
the Cold War nuclear arsenals; and
- Minimize the commercial separation of weapons-useable plutonium from spent
Encouraging these people and increasing their numbers will require public and
Congressional education. Non-governmental international brain-storming will be
necessary to provide insight to supplement the clumsy processes by which
governments negotiate. The efforts of the F.A.S. and other concerned public
interest groups are therefore needed as much as ever.
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